Friday, March 9, 2012

Red Lady Bowl Ski - 3.8.2012

Yesterday, seeing that the avalanche danger had finally fallen to moderate at and above treeline, and that the weather was absolutely incredible, Josh and I were excited to get out for a tour. The question remained: where to go? We considered returning to Snodgrass where we skied wednesday, skiing some of the steep trees of Axtell, or dropping into Redwell Basin. After 30 minutes of flip flopping we decided to avoid steep trees with significant deep instability, and settled on Red Lady.

Josh misunderstood the forecast and started out wearing a thermal top...

...which didn't last long

through the aspens we went:

and before long we were approaching treeline:

Just like Wednesday, its amazing just how much of a difference a few miles makes for the views. A lifetime of lines:

East Beckwith:

West Beckwith:

After an easy, albeit, sweltering two and a half hour skin we were at the top, with incredible 360 degree views. Capitol and Snowmass to the north:

Owen (definitely on the wish list):

Ruby chute (also on the wish list):

It was hard to head down with the perfectly still weather and the amazing views, eventually Josh decided it might be worth putting his jacket on:

Josh dropped first:

and made GS turns down the upper bowl

Not exactly sure what to expect in terms of snow quality, and remembering that Josh makes even the worse snow look good, I dropped in tentatively, and quickly realized I was skiing the smoothest, creamiest pow I've skied all year. What a treat!!!

After the upper bowl, we skied the rolling lower pitches together, finding more creamy pow which gradually transitioned to corn as we reached the bottom. The large natural slide from last week's avalanche cycle is visible on looker's right:

Josh cranked out one last pitch above the parking lot:

This is one of the most fun tours I've done in a while, everything was perfect: the weather, the views, and the snow. Even if you have a sled you should ski this: the views are incredible and the run is long. If possible, I'd avoid doing it on a weekend when the masses converge on it, even on a weekday we saw some extremely sketchy backcountry protocol.

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